Last fall I bought my first “squirrel-proof” bird feeder – a Brome Standard. It’s rather small but a good size for the expensive No-Mess seed from Wild Birds Unlimited that I put in it. The feeder has a center post that is adjustable to increase/decrease the weight of birds that can use the feeder without the ports being shut off. That’s very effective for keeping the nasty grackles and starlings away. I use a seed catcher below the feeder to minimize waste. The Doves are good at cleaning up the fallen seed. This feeder has done a good job at stopping the squirrels.
My main feeder was a wooden hopper style that hung on a high shepherd’s hook with a squirrel baffle below. The squirrels easily jumped on top of the baffle, then climbed up the pole to the feeder. They would empty it in a day!
So I began researching the various larger styles of “squirrel-proof” feeders. Surprisingly several of them were dangerous to birds – even causing their death – because they got their heads or feet trapped by the moving parts if heavier birds or squirrel jumped on the feeder. I checked out the Brome Squirrel Buster Plus which seemed to be effective without worry of hurting the birds. It can be hung freely from a tree limb or installed on a special pole system.
I opted to buy Wild Birds Unlimited version of the Brome system – made by Brome for WBU. Brome doesn’t sell the poles but WBU does. That way I was assured the poles would be the right size for the feeder. I added the seed tray to prevent mess underneath and allow birds to feed on the tray. The little red cup holds mealy worms.
The gray squirrels can jump from the ground up to the seed tray, but when they pull down on the circular perch, the port holes close. So far they can only eat the seed that birds flip out of the port holes. If I were a taller person I would
have bought another pole extension to raise the height of the tray, but reaching the feeder to lift it off the pole to fill is currently at my maximum reach. So the gray squirrel wins! Red squirrel haven’t been on the feeder at all.
I’ve had to play around with the weight adjustment pole since there are 6 feeding ports. When 4 or more finches sit on the perch, it tends to be enough weight to partially close the ports. So far the birds seem to love the new system and took to it very quickly. Finches, sparrows, chickadees, titmouse, Downy woodpeckers, cardinals, red-chested woodpeckers have all been at the feeder. They seem to enjoy not having to share with the squirrels.
This system is NOT inexpensive but I think it will eventually be a cost savings. Where the hopper feeder would be empty in a day, this feeder has needed filled only once a week! YAY!!
HAPPY BIRDS … HAPPY LIFE!
Don’t feel too sorry for the squirrels. They still have their unshelled peanut box!